I'm Lost

I am overwhelmed with emotion. I feel so lost, so out of control. I don't know what to do, how to fix things.

Big J's behavior baffles me. She has been acting mean and disrespectful towards my husband and me. She talks back. She makes faces. She yells. She screams. She just doesn't listen. Part of me thinks she doesn't care either and that's the most troubling.

Today, I cried in front of her. I was so upset that I cried. She just stared at me. I think she was confused or maybe even a little frightened. I didn't know what else to do. I felt so frustrated and the tears started rolling.

It was after her bath. I asked her not to splash her sister. She did it anyway. I told her to get out of the tub. She wouldn't listen. I 'helped' her out of the tub. She stood there, looked me dead in the eye, dipped her hand back in the tub and splashed water all over the bathroom. I yelled and told her to get in her room.

We went back and forth, yelling at each other. I hate that it ends like this. It always ends like this. I don't know what to do anymore. I don't know how to handle her. I feel so guilty all the time. But I'm also frustrated. I won't tolerate being treated this way. I understand that she's only 4 but she's knows what it means to hurt someone's feelings. She understands what it means to disobey. She's old enough to follow the rules.

What am I doing wrong? How can I change things?

When Big J was little she was evaluated by a program called Early Intervention. I contacted them because of her eating problems but they also test for developmental delays that relate to behavior. They came to the house and asked me a ton of questions and observed her while she ate and played. When I found out the results I wasn't surprised to hear that they suggested a behaviorist.

I always felt that something wasn't right. She over-reacted to everything. She would have a fit if the sun was in her eyes or if it was too windy outside. Her sense were overloaded and that made it very difficult for her to deal with things someone else might just brush off. She gets frustrated easily. She feels things so deeply. I thought as she got older that it would get easier. People always say that you need give children the power to label their feelings and a chance to talk about them. Well, Big J was always really good at expressing herself. She still is. She'll tell me when she's angry or upset or sad, but her first instinct is to yell or throw something. If Little J is crying and it's too loud for her to handle, she will get in her face and scream or she'll take her arm and squeeze it.

The bathtub incident was the second time today that she was sent to her room. I brought them both to the food store this afternoon and she was acting up again. She was being rude and I put her in a time out as soon as we got home. She ended up falling asleep.

I'm worried about her. We're moving this week and I don't want all this stress surrounding us. I don't want to yell. I am tired of feeling so bad all the time. I wish I knew the answers. I wish it were easier. I just hope I'm doing right by her. I hope I'm the mom she needs to bring out the best in her.


Mama of 2 said...

A behavorist sounds like a good avenue to pursue. We have a little boy in our preschool who sounds a great deal like Big J and my boss and friend says it has something to do with his sensory perception or sensory overload.

If you are worried about her I would definitely explore all available avenues for both your and her sake.

Good Luck.

Meg said...

It's possible that the stress of moving is taking a toll on her. Even if she doesn't fully understand it, she might be picking up on your stress. I know it happens to us around here.

But I think a behaviorist is not a bad idea. Even if nothing is "wrong", at least you'll know that for a fact. And if they are concerned, they can help you all into making it easier for her.

Keep up posted and good luck!

Nicole said...

I agree with Meg. The stress probably exacerbates the issue.

I've had the same feelings with my own 5-year-old daughter. She's very mean, especially to her little brother. And, she knows how to play us. I'm pretty sure we're not as consistent as we should be and that adds to the problem. Consistency is the key, and, unfortunately it's so much more difficult than it sounds.

Good luck and hang in there.

Ms. Porter said...

When I read your post my immediate reaction was that she's stressed out. You are stressed about the move, why wouldn't she be? You are her Mom and you know best, but give yourselves a break and get settled etc.....the tub experience is something I could have written...so typical of kids that age. I know how difficult it can be in the moment and lets face it, you have alot on your plate right now. I wish you luck in just getting through the move and settling in...hang in there.

Mrs Fay said...


have you heard about love and logic? It's a practical book for parents by Jim Fay. Before I read it I had similar problems to yours, this book was a real help! www.loveandlogic.com I sincerely recommend this book to any parent!

Of course, stress can take a toll on anyone...

Hope everything get better soon!

Mrs Fay said...

And funnily enough I am NOT related to them at all! Promise :)

Melinda Zook said...

I have had days like that with son. He definitely can make me feel like either pulling my hair out or crying.

He's also 4 and his teacher recommended I get him tested for ADHD but all the psychs I talked to lately tell me he is still too young to determine if there is a real problem. To me, there is a real problem but I guess I have to give the benefit of the doubt that maybe he is just an overzealous 4 year old. The most importnat thing though I think we need to remember is that we are good moms and we didn't cause our kids to act out.

You know your daughter better than anyone as to whether or not she is stressed from the move or if this is just trials and tribulations of everyday with her. Either way, I hope it gets better for you (and me).